The winter we often want to have a warm blanket. So we often buy different Blankets for our family. Such as Fleece Blankets, Custom Blankets, etc. Sometimes we run on a hundred thousand dollar truck, carrying half again that much in medical equipment, and yet often can't find a warm blanket for our patients.
The cheapest blankets ambulances frequently use are the low-end disposables. Maybe the most well known is the old silver space blanket. These things do work, a little. But they blow around like crazy. Their best application may be as a blanket liner, to help keep your primary cover clean while enhancing performance. Their biggest advantage is the compact size, making them a top choice for emergency kits.
The next level up, so to speak is the old Cotton Blanket. Hospitals use these a lot, and as a direct result so do many ambulances. Hospitals like them because they launder pretty well, and with low capital costs and fairly durable construction are actually the cheapest way to go. We used to use these a lot in the old days, again as liners with our red wool winter blankets. The cheap 5-finger price and keeping the wool blanket clean had big advantages. This combination is also about one the cheapest combinations to keep people warm in real cold weather.
Another new type of blanket is the active heating disposables. These are something I think everybody should keep around for weather emergencies. They work rather mysteriously, combining oxygen, iron filings, and vermiculite inside a polypropylene cover. They work like those instant hand warmer that hunters like to use. When you open the package and let air hit the blanket, they heat up in about 10 minutes. They are pretty expensive for daily use, but really can be a lifesaver in a disaster big or small. They stay warm for up to 8 hours too. If you think there is even any chance of getting caught out all night in bad weather, these blankets are a must have.
Your local weather, costs, and performance are all important considerations when choosing a blanket. Just please don't make your patients suffer in cold weather. We need to be respectful and responsible when addressing the most basic care needs of our patients. A warm blanket and a smile are an important part of doing just that.